Gender pay gap: Time to pay attention

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Next month, all UK employers with more than 250 workers must disclose the gender pay gaps for both salary and bonus.

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Several UK banks have already released their numbers which are both unsurprising and grim. 

At Barclays UK, which includes retail banking, consumer credit cards and corporate credit cards, men were paid an average 14.2% more than women, while at Barclays International the difference was 43.5%. 

Lloyds Bank reports a 42.7% median gender pay gap without subsidiaries Cheltenham & Gloucester and HBOS, and a 32.8% gap with them. RBS has reported a pay gap of 36.5%. 

The figures for bonuses are even more scandalous: bonuses for women were 78.7% lower than those for men at Barclays’ investment bank; at RBS the mean gender pay gap on bonuses was 64%. HSBC had yet to release its numbers by press time. 

The Office for National Statistics reports a national 18% gender pay gap. While this figure may be largely meaningless given the range of economic activity that it encompasses, it does provide a benchmark. 

The tired excuse that gender pay gaps simply reflect the dearth of women in senior roles should be a call to action for change rather than the cue for a shoulder shrug of indifference. 

Salary benchmarking site Emolument looked at salaries in the UK asset management industry and found a pay gap of 27% across the board, using data from 10,000 employees of asset management firms. 

This is still shockingly bad, but it is better than the figures at some of the banks. 

If the finance industry wants to attract the best and the brightest graduates, this is one set of numbers that really, really needs to improve.